Here Comes the Commander. Commander Crowe is heading to North America to compete in the Nat Ray Trot at the Meadowlands as well as the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack after the Elittlop. This decision made after the Commander beat Arch Madness in the Oslo Grand Prix. If you remember, Commander Crowe and Rapide Lobell put on a great show along with San Pail in last year's Breeders Crown so a race with Commander Crowe will be a must see event.
Jacques Hebert winding down his career. You may be asking why a story about Jacques Hebert trainer/driver winding down his career in harness racing deserves a mention in my blog. Call it Blogger's Perogative. You see, many years ago (did I say many?) on vacation, I saw Jacques Hebert racing at Saratoga Raceway and he always had his horses ready. So one day, I saw Jacques Hebert racing a horse at the Meadowlands and it was an automatic play. I don't recall the horse or the amount it paid, but if memory serves me correctly, it was a lucrative wager.
But forget about collecting a wager. You appreciate trainers who always had horses ready; they didn't drop in the box if they weren't fit. Trainers like Eldon Harner, Hebert, and Abe Stolzfus were a special class of trainer; trainers you could always count on. No, they may not have won every race but you know they came to race. The sport can use more trainers like them. If this is indeed Herbert's last horse, it will be an end of an era.
Harnessracing.com reports on a white foal being born in New Jersey. If this horse can go anything, a hex on the person who gelds him. This sport can use a little more color in its race horses. I want to see this horse become the next Laag. I have a feeling this horse won't be sold at auction due to old superstitions. No one is asking for suggestions, but for this son of Art Major and Coochie Mama, I would suggest a name of White Phantom.
Takeout News - Yes, it is a thoroughbred track but Canterbury Park lowers their Pick 3 and Pick 4 takeout rate to 14%. Whales who tend to be price sensitive won't care which breed of racing it is, they are looking for the best deal. Let's see who is going to try to match this price.
WEG offers $1 wagers. This is something I welcome. What a great way for people who never have played the horses to dip their feet into the parimutuel waters. Let's face it, in the age where most wagers are made without human involvement, what can be the cost of taking a $1 Win wager? Negligible. I know the fear is if you offer a $1 wager, people currently wagering $2 will cut back their wagers. Sure there will be some, but the way I look at it is if they cut their wager back to a $1, there is a good chance they shouldn't have been wagering $2 in the first place so it gives those players a chance to stick around. But tell someone who has never been to the races that they can come to the track and spend the same amount they would for a movie and have a chance to make money, we have a chance to get those people to spend their entertainment money on the horses.
Woodbine to Close? That is the latest comments from WEG in response to a possibility of the slots being pulled from Woodbine. The closure of Woodbine, would be a severe blow to racing in Ontario; with Mohawk closing, it would not only kill racing in Ontario, it would make racing in the whole country minor-league. I realize WEG needs to start campaigning and put the fear of you know who in their community as part of their campaign to maintain a casino there, but they need to be mindful the horse racing industry is almost at a stand still waiting to see how the shoe drops. As a result, any pronouncements from the tracks need to be honest and not just scare tactics.